Google has made significant changes to the availability of Web Stories, including stopping their appearance in Google Images, the Google Discover carousel view, and the transition of the grid view to a carousel view in Google Search results. These changes were announced by Google as part of a documentation update to better align with the feature’s appearance in Google Search. The update has also added a new section detailing the availability of Web Stories in various regions and languages, as well as their appearance as a single card in the Discover feed.
The history of Web Stories dates back to 2018 when Google launched AMP Stories, which was later rebranded as Web Stories. The feature was integrated into Google Discover in 2020 and quickly gained popularity among publishers. However, in 2021, Google began to scale back on Web Stories by removing teaser-based stories. The recent changes announced by Google have fueled speculation about the future of Web Stories, with some industry experts predicting their potential disappearance within a year due to declining quality and user experience.
The reaction to the changes has been mixed, with some expressing concerns about potential traffic loss for publishers who relied on Web Stories for traffic. Others have criticized the feature for cluttering search results with low-quality content and spam. In response to the changes, publishers who heavily relied on Web Stories for traffic are advised to reevaluate their content strategies as Google continues to limit the visibility of Web Stories in search results.
Overall, the discontinuation of Web Stories in certain search features and the reshaping of their appearance in Google Search results marks a significant shift in Google’s approach to this feature. The future of Web Stories seems uncertain as Google continues to implement changes that indicate a potential decline in their visibility and importance within search results. This carries implications for publishers who have heavily invested in Web Stories as a source of traffic to their content.
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